Much care goes into producing our log-grown mushrooms and log kits. Here’s how it all happens.
Log inoculation in our fruiting house (greenhouse)
The mushroom season starts in the late winter and spring with log inoculations. We purchase freshly cut logs from nearby loggers, then start drilling! Each log is drilled with between 50 and 150 holes, each hole is packed with spawn (the mushroom organism growing on sawdust), then sealed with a cap that holds in moisture.
The incubating area
Logs that have been inoculated are piled up in the fruiting house in dense covered stacks or laid out close to the ground in another shady area for incubation or “spawn run.” This is the period when the mushroom organism or mycelium spreads throughout the logs. Incubation typically takes 3 to 12 months depending on the mushroom variety, environment, and quality of materials.
The log resting area
After mushrooms start to fruit on the logs, we move them over to the resting area. This generally happens in the fall. We use a metal frame shade structure for this purpose, but other growers use tree canopy (especially pine!) for this purpose. The logs need protection from sun and wind, and the structure helps with this, while allowing us easy access to the logs. These fruiting logs will fruit naturally here, but most of our production happens in our fruiting house.
The shiitake fruiting house
Some varieties of shiitake respond to prolonged soaking in cold water by fruiting prolifically. They are reacting to changes in moisture and temperature. Each week we remove logs from the resting area and soak them in fresh water. The next day we remove them to the fruiting house, where they will fruit within the next week or so. Once picked over we move them back to the resting area and bring in a new batch to fruit the following week. We call this force-fruiting.
Not all shiitake growers use a fruiting house, but the most consistent high-quality shiitake are grown this way, since we are able to control humidity, air movement, and even temperature much more than in an outdoor fruiting area. With the help of many of you we raised the funds for our first fruiting house – through a Kickstarter campaign. Thank you supporters!
Contact Farmer Jeremy McAdams at 612-205-8599 or fill out the form below:
Cherry Tree House Mushrooms LLC, 827 15th St., Clayton, WI, 54004